Dear Wendy’s Second Annual Holiday Book Drive!

Screen Shot 2013-11-25 at 8.42.29 PMLast year’s last-minute book drive for a class in a low-income school in New Orleans was such a success — all the books on the teacher’s list were purchased within 90 minutes! — I decided to make it an annual event. This year’s holiday book drive is much more ambitious than last year’s — we have 3 teachers participating, with over 180 students all together, humbly requesting 215 books — and I’m hopeful we can reach the goal and purchase one book for every kid or, at the very least, get some new books for each classroom’s library. Keep reading to learn more about the participating classes, students, and teachers, and follow the links to their respective Amazon gift registries where you can purchase books (many as inexpensive as $3) if you’re able to. Thank you so much for your generosity!

Vanessa W. teaches at an elementary school in Columbus, Mississippi that is 98% African American and 95% low income. She writes: “I am a very proud third-grade teacher. I have been teaching third here for 14 years now, and it is my dream job. I often tell people that I could do it for free if I had to. I love what I do and I love my students that much. There is no other job that could bring me the satisfaction that I get from being in the classroom every day. There is so much I would like to do for my students around the holidays. In the past, I have gotten every child a goodie bag or a small gift and some sort of healthy snack. This is just so they will have something for the holidays. Many of them don’t, but I know you know this happens. As class sizes increase and my budget gets tighter, it’s becoming more and more difficult to do that. It would be awesome if you could help me get books to my kids for the holidays!”

UPDATE: Vanessa’s registry has been 100% fulfilled! All of her students will receive books this Christmas courtesy of DW readers!! Thank you for your contribution. If you’d still like to contribute to the book drive, please visit the two registries below.


Ogo A. is a lawyer (and daily DW reader!) who was drafted by an alternate route teaching program and is in her first year of teaching middle school language arts at a Title 1, low income school in Baltimore. She teaches four classes, the smallest of which has 17 students, and would be very grateful to get enough books for all of her students to each take one home as a holiday gift. Even if that goal isn’t met, she would be thrilled just to get enough books to start a classroom library and help pique her students’ interest in reading.

Here is Ogo’s book registry for her middle-schoolers. Please consider making a purchase!


Johanna J. is a fifth-grade science and literacy teacher at a rural, low income, Title 1 school in eastern North Carolina. She writes: “Many of our students do not yet read on grade level and it’s a constant struggle to get them all interested in reading – new books are the best way to do this! Our library hasn’t been updated in the last five years due to funding. I purchase books kids want to read for our classroom lending library as a reward for great behavior and high growth in assessment scores. I wish I could afford to buy books for every child!”

UPDATE: Johanna’s registry has been 100% fulfilled! All of her students will receive books this Christmas courtesy of DW readers!! Thank you for your contribution. If you’d still like to contribute to the book drive, please visit the Ogo’s registry listed above.


  1. lets_be_honest says:

    I’m not exactly sure how to do this. If I click on a teacher’s wishlist and add to bag, it gets sent to her, right?? Just want to make sure I’m not having books sent to me.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      Go ahead and ignore that. Its obvious when you go to check out.

    2. During checkout you have the “Ship to this address” option, and one of the options will be the the teacher’s name. Their address is hidden, but you should be able to see the city and state. Select that, and you’ll be set.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        Yea, once I got to checkout, all that showed up. Thanks!

        Also, this is awesome!!!

  2. Wendy:

    I just tried to buy a book off Johanna’s list and it says she hasn’t properly shared her shipping address. Anyone else dealing with this?

    1. I was able to send a book to her without any problem. Anyone else? If you’re still having difficulty, can you try one of the other two lists?

      1. I just sent Johanna one and it seemed to work. Her address was hidden for privacy, but it was there.

      2. I figured out, you need to not put sales for multiple locations in the same sale.

      3. If you pick “ship to multiple locations” it automatically matches each book with the right shipping address.

    2. I just sent a book to Johanna’s class and it went through.

  3. Awesome, I just bought one book for each teacher! The shipping addresses thing totally confused me, but it’s easy once you’re in the checkout stages 😀

  4. AliceInDairyland says:

    Ahhh, I love Laura Ingalls Wilder. I am definitely buying one of those for the classroom, I was obsessed with all of those books and she is the person I was named after. 🙂

    1. My parents named me after her as well! (Well…part her and part my great aunt.) ALICE WE HAVE SO MUCH IN COMMON.

  5. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

    The Berenstain Bears book on Vanessa’s registry seems to be out of stock 🙁

    1. It’s out of stock on Amazon, but you can purchase it through one of the other sellers listed though. Or you can get one of the other books on her list.

      1. You can still purchase it, they will ship to her when it is restocked.

  6. Yay! I’m glad I can participate this year, I got one from each list. And there’s a weather book!! It’s actually written by one of the guys that works at my home tv station, cool!

  7. This is such a wonderful idea. I was happy to be able to participate!

  8. Thanks for doing this Wendy! Loving the warm book-related fuzzy =)

  9. Avatar photo landygirl says:

    This is awesome, thanks! Books for everyone.

  10. starpattern says:

    Happy I saw this in time!

  11. I’m happy I was able to participate! Hope they’ll like the books!

    And since this thread will most likely be read by book lovers, I’d like to take the opportunity to plug one of my favorite organizations: World Book Night. I received a book from them two years ago, and I was a giver last year. I plan to be a giver this year too. (Here is the link if you want to get involved:

    What World Book Night does:

    Each year, 30- 35 books are chosen by an independent panel of librarians and booksellers. The authors of the books waive their royalties and the publishers agree to pay the costs of producing the specially-printed World Book Night U.S. editions. Bookstores and libraries sign up to be community host locations for the volunteer book givers.

    After the book titles are announced, members of the public apply to personally hand out 20 copies of a particular title in their community. World Book Night U.S. vets the applications, and the givers are chosen based on their ability to reach light and non-readers. The selected givers choose a local participating bookstore or library from which to pick up the 20 copies of their book, and World Book Night U.S. delivers the books to these host locations.

    Givers pick up their books in the week before World Book Night. On April 23rd, they give their books to those who don’t regularly read and/or people who don’t normally have access to printed books, for reasons of means or geography.

  12. Thank you to everyone who has contributed so far! After two hours, 35 books have been purchased! For those who want to participate, there’s still time! There are 180 books left to be purchased. If every person who reads this post in the next, oh, 45 minutes or so bought just one book, our goal would be reached!

  13. Avatar photo veritek33 says:

    BOXCAR CHILDREN????!!!!!! Dude, favorite books growing up. Just bought the last two on the list. Yay!

  14. We’re up to 63 books purchased! We’re almost 1/3 of the way to reaching the goal after less than three hours. Awesome.

  15. I’ll buy some books when I get to the office this aft!

  16. honeybeenicki says:

    Ordered two books 🙂 Was going to do just one, but then I saw Monster on one of the lists and had to get it. I love that book and have it in my own personal collection.

  17. Update: 87 books purchased so far in just under five hours!

    1. Just added 3 more books to the total 🙂

      1. Excellent!

  18. Friend of Beagles says:

    Not to make things difficult, but. . . On Ogo’s list, there’s a request for Two Tickets to Freedom, which I am thinking might be for the classroom library because there’s only one requested and the only reasonably priced copies are used. If that’s the case and a used book is OK, I have extra credits on Paperbackswap.com that I’d love to use (the books I want are NEVER listed–so frustrating!), and that book happens to be available. If any other books are for the classroom library, I can also look up and send those if they’re listed on Paperbackswap; I’d just need an address to send them to. I’ll buy some books too, but I figured this was another way I could help on my limited budget. Thanks!

    1. I think that would be fine, but I don’t have an address to share with you.

  19. Wendy, I really hope you’ll keep re-posting this every day until all the books are purchased! It would be amazing if every single kid on the list got a new book for Christmas.

  20. Another great resource for teachers is Half Price Books (or the like). I was able to get over 300 books donated to my school for a Parent Night so parents could take home books for their children. They will often donate to schools/classes serving students from low-income backgrounds. All I needed was my school’s tax ID code.

  21. I’m late to the party and I keep getting error messages when I click on a teacher. Does that mean all the books were already bought?

    1. No, we’re about halfway to our goal of 215 books, with roughly 108 books still unpurchased. Not sure why you’re getting an error message though.

      1. This is what I get.

        We’re sorry!

        There was an internal error in our system. We logged the problem and will investigate it later. Our apologies for the inconvenience.

        on the Amazon.ca home page.

        Is there another way for me to access the lists?

      2. Hmm, that’s annoying. You could try looking up the gift registries by the teacher’s names:

        ogo n anosike

        Johanna Jorgensen

        Vanessa Williams

        Thank you for continuing to try! I’m sorry it’s proving more complicated than it should be!

      3. No love. Can I just send you $100 to buy some books on my behalf? Can you tell me how again please? Apparently baby brain never goes away!

      4. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        You can send Wendy $100 by paypal’ing it to addie@addiepray.com

        I am so funny this morning!

    2. FireStar, it’s because you’re in Canada and it’s trying to redirect you to Amazon.ca

      If you go up into the address bar and just edit the address back to .com it will work.

      Wendy, make you can make a note if that? Same thing happened to me too!

      1. Yay! Success!! I even tried searching on the American site and it wouldn’t let me. There are 129 Vanessa’s I clicked through looking for children’s books! Thanks Dre! I’m off to buy now!

      2. Thank you for your effort! Glad it worked out. And thanks, Dre, for your help!

      3. Awesome! Glad it worked out for you!

  22. Johanna is my daughter. Thanks so much for doing this! I bought some books and shared this link with friends! Blessings for the Holidays!

    1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

      I love the name Johanna. I don’t know any Johannas though. I also like Josephine.

  23. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

    I bought a book! For Ogo’s class. I like how easy that was – thanks, Wendy Bo Bendy!

  24. yay! DW is working again, and I was able to gift a book!

  25. Bought a book for Ogo’s class ^_^

  26. Avatar photo Imsostartled says:

    WooHoo bought 3 for Johanna!

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